Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR?
- Who’s eligible to participate?
- What if my household is over the income limits for participation?
- I am a renter, and I would like to save on my utility bills. Do I qualify?
- What if I own a building with more than 4 units?
- Can I work with any contractor?
- How do I find a participating BPI GoldStar contractor?
- What happens at an energy assessment? How long does it take?
- How do I know that the work will be done properly?
- How are contractor disputes resolved?
- What is a Community Energy Advisor and how can they help?
- What happens if I've financed my energy efficiency or renewable energy improvements and I sell my home?
Q: What is Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR?
A: The Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program makes it easier and more affordable for New York State homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. It uses a network of independent contractors that hold certifications by the Building Performance Institute (BPI). BPI is a national resource for building science technology that sets standards for assessing and improving the energy performance of homes. Each contractor is trained to use a whole-house approach to test the energy efficiency of homes and identify energy efficiency improvement opportunities. Your contractor will show you where your home is wasting energy, what to expect from the work, and how to obtain additional information about moving forward.
Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR provides financial support for income-eligible households. Those who qualify can receive a discount covering 50% of the cost of eligible energy efficiency improvements up to $5,000 per project for single-family homes. Two- to four-unit residential homes with income-eligible residents may qualify for a discount of up to $10,000. Low-interest loans are also available to help cover the remainder of the project cost.
Q: Who’s eligible to participate?
A: To participate in Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, residents must own a single-family home or multifamily home with up to four units and have a household income that is less than or equal to 120% of the area county income. Renters should encourage your landlords to participate to take advantage of the program offerings. View the full program eligibility guidelines.
If you own a multifamily home that is 3 stories or less with 8 units or less you may be eligible to participate through Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Special Projects [PDF].
Q: What if my household is over the income limits for participation?
A: If you are not income-eligible for Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, there are a number of programs you may be eligible for through utilities or NYSERDA. Our website has information about other programs you may be eligible for.
Q: I am a renter, and I would like to save on my utility bills. Do I qualify?
A: While renters can’t apply directly for the program, you can enjoy the benefits of reduced energy bills by encouraging your landlord to apply.
Q: What if I own a building with more than 4 units?
A: One to three story buildings with 5 to 8 individual housing units may qualify as a "Special Projects." Complete the application [PDF] to see if your project is eligible.
Q: Can I work with any contractor to participate in the program?
A: You must work with a participating contractor that holds certifications by the Building Performance Institute (BPI). Participating contractors are specially trained professionals that use state-of-the art diagnostic equipment and comprehensive analysis to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient. Participating contractors are insured and subject to quality reviews by NYSERDA.
Q: How do I find a participating contractor?
A: Use the contractor profile page to find contractors in your geographic area. Here are a few questions [PDF] that you can ask the contractors before you make the decision to have them perform your energy assessment.
Q: What happens at an energy assessment? How long does it take?
A: The contractor will spend approximately two to three hours at your home for the Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR assessment. It provides you with a top-to-bottom look at where your home is wasting energy. The assessment evaluates your heating and cooling systems. The assessment gets to the root of common household problems such as drafts, inconsistent temperatures, and heating and cooling system. It also takes into account the health and safety of your home. In most instances, the contractor will set up a blower-door test to measure the air that leaks into and out of your home’s “envelope.” The contractor will perform air-quality checks, testing for gas leaks or other dangerous situations. After the assessment, your contractor will give you a list of recommended upgrades and pricing estimates for each. These upgrades could range from simple weather-stripping to replacing your appliances or heating equipment and upgrading to energy-efficient lighting.
Q: How are contractor disputes resolved?
A: NYSERDA encourages customers and contractors to work together to resolve any disputes. To ensure there are no misunderstandings regarding work scope, customers should always make sure any stated work is written into the contract. If the customer and contractor still cannot come to a resolution, NYSERDA will initiate a dispute resolution process. You can reach NYSERDA at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-866-NYSERDA.
Q: What is a Community Energy Advisor and how can they help?
A: Community Energy Advisors are partners in the program who are dedicated to helping homeowners access and participate in the Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR programs. If you need help in understanding the program or completing your application, you can contact a Community Energy Advisor.
Q: What happens if I’ve financed my energy efficiency or renewable energy improvements and I sell my home?
A: If you have financed your energy efficiency or renewable energy improvements with an On-Bill Recovery Loan through the Green Jobs Green NY Residential Loan program you can either pay off the loan in full prior to or at the time of sale of the property you can transfer the loan to the buyer, provided you have given written notice of the loan to the new buyer. This written notice must be provided to the buyer prior to accepting a purchase offer and must contain all of the following information: (1) notice that the property is subject to a Green Jobs-Green New York on-bill recovery charge; (2) the total amount of the original charge; (3) the payment schedule and the approximate remaining balance; (4) a description of the energy efficiency services performed, including improvements to the Property, and an explanation of the benefit of the Green Jobs-Green New York qualified energy efficiency services; and, (5) a statement concerning the collection of information which states that the purchaser agrees to authorize their utility company to provide to NYSERDA, upon request, information on their energy usage and other sources of energy used in the Property. All information collected by NYSERDA will be kept confidential and will be used exclusively for the purposes of evaluating the cost-effectiveness of the on-bill recovery program on an on-going basis.
If you have financed your energy efficiency or renewable energy improvements with a Smart Energy Loan through the Green Jobs Green NY Residential Loan program you will remain responsible for the balance of the loan which you can either payoff with no pre-pay penalty or continue paying the monthly installments. A Smart Energy Loan is not transferrable to a new buyer.